FC Barcelona are set to lock horns with FC Porto on Tuesday, in what could be an important game for the Catalans.
Coming on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona are expected to field a strong squad, as they look to secure a victory that will seal them a place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League this season.
With nine points, Barça are leading Group H heading into the fifth gameweek of the UCL group stages. But they are closely followed by FC Porto, who are level on points.
Although odds favour Barça to secure an easy booking to the next round and even clinch a top spot on the table, here are all the possibilities for Catalans in Group H, based on the result they achieve against Porto.
A win to seal it all
The simplest combination to dispel any doubts lies in Barcelona securing a victory against Porto.
With both teams tied at nine points, a win for Barcelona would not only provide a crucial three-point advantage but also secure the head-to-head advantage against the Portuguese outfit, positioning them favourably for the next round.
There is a possibility that Barcelona may end up drawing with Shakhtar Donetsk at the top of the level, especially if they win against Porto and lose the last match.
Donetsk, on the other hand, are on six points and can win the last two matches to reach the 12-point mark.
In the event of a tie at 12 points with Shakhtar, Barcelona have an equal goal average with the Ukrainian side. They also tie the criteria of goals scored between them, but thanks to a superior goal difference, Barça should end up topping the group.
As things stand, the Catalans currently boast a +6 goal difference compared to Shkakhtar’s -1.
Draw with Porto
A draw against Porto would still put Barcelona in a strong position, albeit with first place potentially hanging in the balance on the final matchday.
The tie would leave both teams at 10 points, but Barcelona would claim the head-to-head advantage courtesy of their earlier victory at the Portuguese stadium (0-1). Shakhtar, in turn, would be forced to win against Antwerp to remain in contention.
A loss vs Porto
In the event of a loss against FC Porto, Barcelona would still be in contention to secure qualification to the knockout rounds.
However, in that case, they may need to win decisively against Royal Antwerp in the final group game of the season.
Porto, meanwhile, will be on top with 12 points. If the Portuguese outfit can beat Shakhtar Donetsk in their final game, Barcelona can qualify with a win over Royal Antwerp.
But if Shakhtar beat Porto, there will be a tie of 12 points between the top three teams. The two qualifiers would depend on the goals scored by each of them in the duels between the three teams.